How To Properly Care For Your Dog's Wounds?

Published on Feb 1, 2023 12:00 AM
How To Properly Care For Your Dog's Wounds?

It is unavoidable that your dog will be injured at some point in their life. No one likes to see their dog in pain and covered in wounds. But accidents happen. And when they do, it's essential to know how to care for their injuries properly. 

This includes minor cuts and scrapes to more serious wounds requiring professional care. Caring for your dog's wounds properly will help them heal quickly and prevent infection. It's also important to know when to seek professional vet help. 

In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about dog wound care. From the initial cleaning to ongoing treatment, we'll cover everything you must do to help your furry friend heal quickly and safely.

Taking Care Of Your Dog's Wounds

The most crucial aspect of your dog's wound is how quickly you clean and treat it. Any time spent romping around with an injury increases the likelihood of wound infection significantly. Most minor wounds can be treated at home. However, some seemingly minor injuries can lead to severe infections, so it's always best to choose the side of caution when deciding whether to take your dog to the vet. Taking your dog to the vet as soon as a wound occurs could save it much pain. 

In the following sections, you will learn everything there is to know about wound care for the health and well-being of our canine companions.

Veterinary care for wounds 

Wounds should be treated as soon as possible by a veterinarian. Veterinary care is required for the following injuries:
    Animal bite wounds require immediate attention, whether from a dog or another animal. These may appear small, but they quickly become infected.
    Wounds where the skin is ripped away from the flesh beneath.
•    A wound containing a large foreign object (i.e., a piece of glass)
•    Wounds from a car accident or other traumatic event
    Injuries around the eyes, head, chest, or abdomen are serious
    Injuries from unknown sources should be treated as the worst-case scenario. A rusted nail, for example, could have caused the seemingly minor wound.
•    Cuts that are more than an inch long or have jagged edges
•    Injuries and wounds that cause breathing difficulties

Dog wound care at home

Minor pet wounds, such as cuts or scrapes, are treated similarly to human injuries. Pet owners usually treat these wounds at home. The primary steps of at-home wound care are cleaning the wound, sanitizing the wound area, and applying the bandage. An important consideration is relieving pain by applying gentle, soothing products to your pet's wound.

You can treat most minor pet injuries at home. However, if your dog gets hurt, you should always have a few things on hand to give them first-aid treatment. For example, pet antiseptic solution, antimicrobial ointment for dogs, sterile bandages, self-adhesive bandages, and a spray bottle must always be available. Keeping these items on hand can help in case of an emergency.

Guide to wound bandage

In the event of an injury, it is best to seek the advice of a professional. However, if you believe the injury is minor or cannot take your pet to the vet immediately, you can bandage them. To bandage your pets, follow these steps:

1.  Put a muzzle on your dog

A scared, anxious, or injured dog may bite while you are trying to help, so it is best to muzzle your dog before beginning first aid treatment. It's a good idea to practice putting a muzzle on your dog before an injury occurs so your dog can feel comfortable with the process and the muzzle. This familiarization with the muzzle will help to avoid aggravating your dog's distress because they will be used to it.

2.  Examine the wound for foreign objects

Examine the wound for any objects or debris that may have become lodged. This is especially important for dog paw wound care because the wound may have been caused by stepping on something sharp. If the foreign object can be easily removed with tweezers, remove it gently. However, if the object is deeply embedded, leave it alone as you may cause further harm and pain to the pet. Instead, call your veterinarian or take your pet to an emergency veterinarian right away.

3.  Clean the wound

If the wound is on your dog's paw, you can help rinse out any dirt and debris by swishing the injured paw around in a clean bowl or warm water. If the wound is elsewhere on your dog's body, you can gently run clean water over the wound by placing your dog in a sink, bath, or shower. Never apply harsh cleaners, such as hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other caustic cleaning products, to your dog's skin. Using these chemicals to clean a dog's wound can be painful and even cause the wound to take longer to heal.

4.  Stop the bleeding

Use a clean towel to apply pressure if nothing is stuck in the wound. While most minor cuts will stop bleeding within a few minutes, larger cuts will likely take longer. Within 10 minutes of applying pressure, the bleeding should stop. If your dog is still bleeding after that time, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

5.  Dress your dog's wound

If you have antibacterial ointment on hand, apply a small amount to the wound before covering it with sterile gauze or another bandage. Do not use products that contain hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. You can use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to keep the gauze in place when dressing a dog wound.

6.  Stop your dog from licking injury

Licking the wound may cause it to heal more slowly. If your dog attempts to lick the wound, you may need to use an e-collar.

Dog open wound care

Veterinarians will close and suture the injury whenever possible to expedite healing. In some cases, the location or extent of skin loss prevents surgical closure or bandaging. For example, wounds on the face or the upper leg are left open. In addition, some wounds will be left open for topical treatment and drainage if there is gross contamination or deep infection.

If the wound cannot be closed surgically, your veterinarian may sometimes apply a protective bandage. However, most such wounds are left open, and your veterinarian will provide specific instructions for open wound care.

The following are some general care guidelines for such wounds:

1.  Clear the surroundings

Clean the wound and the surrounding area gently to remove any crusty or sticky debris. This will keep the wound edges clean, reduce the risk of re-infection, and allow for the development of new healthy tissue.

2.  Administer medications on time

Administer all medications exactly as directed by the professional. For example, your veterinarian will prescribe your dog antibiotics or antibiotic creams to apply to the wound. Do not stop taking these medications unless your veterinarian has specifically instructed you.

3.  Prevent dog licking

The open wound should not be licked or chewed by your dog. Many dogs will need to wear a protective collar called an e-collar or a cone of shame to avoid injuring the site. Other options, depending on the location of the wound, include bandaging, a stockinette, a dog coat, or a t-shirt.

4.  Prevent premature wound healing

Prevent the skin from healing too quickly over the wound. This is especially important for abscesses that have been surgically lanced and drained. Massage the surrounding skin gently when cleaning the wound to open it up and promote drainage. When you do this, you may notice some discharge or bleeding. Take note of whether the discharge appears infected, like if it is thick and colored. You should either remove or let the discharge drain away. If the discharge remains bloody, green, or yellow for several days, contact your veterinarian for advice.

Maintaining the wound

After the initial treatment and bandaging, you must check the wound regularly to ensure that infection does not set in and that healing is proceeding normally. Make sure to clean the wound twice a day with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution. In addition, if you notice any signs of wound infection or other complications, contact your veterinarian immediately. Infection symptoms include increased redness, swelling, discharge, pain in the wound area, and a foul odor from the wound. Maintaining an injury is critical so that it heals rather than deteriorates further.

Why is Proper Wound Care Important?

If you want to see your pet dog happy and healthy, you must provide them with wound care. Proper wound care is essential for several reasons:
•    It helps to clean the wound and remove any debris or dirt that could cause infection.
•    It prevents further complications.
•    It helps to keep the wound moist, which promotes healing.
•    It protects the wound from further injury.
•    It helps get rid of the pain faster for your furry fellow.

Common mistakes when caring for dog's wounds

Avoid these common wound care mistakes to ensure proper healing at every stage. While wound care isn't exactly glamorous, it is statistically necessary, so we're here to help:

Using Chlorhexidine Soap

Chlorhexidine is an antibacterial agent commonly used as a topical antiseptic in dental and surgical practices to clean wounds. While chlorhexidine has low systemic toxicity and is generally safe in over-the-counter concentrations, it is dangerous when ingested and irritates the skin and eyes. In addition, dogs lick the soap off of them, which can have serious consequences. Besides, there is little evidence that it is safe and effective at reducing bacterial growth without causing wound trauma. It can also cause tissue necrosis and bacteria to regrow.

Hydrogen Peroxide is not the best option

When cleaning wounds, hydrogen peroxide is your first line of defense. It kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls, so hydrogen peroxide has been used as an antiseptic for a long time. However, hydrogen peroxide destroys your pet's fibroblast cells, which are healthy cells necessary for healing. So, while the compound aids in disinfection, it also slows your pet's natural healing process.

Here's what you should do instead. Prepare the wound, apply pressure to stop any bleeding, and try to remove any fur from your dog's injury. Then, using sterile, pressurized "wound wash," flush the wound. Disinfect the wound with a diluted iodine solution.

Surprising antibiotic ointment facts

Polysporin's use in wound healing is very common. However, Polysporin has many drawbacks. It is made of petroleum jelly, a skin-toxic byproduct of crude oil. Besides, the continued and excessive use of antibiotics results in the spread of resistant bacteria. Petroleum jelly forms a film on the skin's surface that may slow healing and prevents wounds from closing. Most dogs will lick anything greasy, causing more trauma to the wound and extending healing time.

Wrapping Up

Hence, you now understand the fundamentals of dog wound care. Proper wound care is critical for your dog's health and happiness. We've covered everything from providing first-aid treatment to a dog's wound to maintaining it. You now know when to take your dog to the veterinarian and what mistakes to avoid when treating your dog's wound. All of this information will help you become acquainted with dog care. To learn more about pet care, you can look into Vet and Tech resources. We provide vet resources to educate pet owners about animal care, particularly surgical procedures and common animal diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn't my dog's wound healing?

Wounds do not heal for various reasons, including patient factors such as underlying disease, etiology, and poor nutrition, as well as surgical factors such as hematoma formation and infection.

Is it possible for a dog's wound to heal on its own?

Most minor cuts, such as grazes, heal quickly if kept clean and dry. Check and clean your pet's wound daily, and keep them from licking it until it is completely healed.

Do dogs heal more quickly than humans?

It is widely assumed that dogs heal faster than humans. However, this is not always the case. Injuries to both humans and dogs follow the same healing path and progress at similar rates.